Since shopping is hard for men, and men only buy a certain array of manly things, an Upper West Side grocery store has launched what the New York Post is calling "the city's first 'man aisle.'" That means, everything men, all in one handy place (on 110th Street)!
What exactly does this man aisle offer? According to writer Pedro Oliveira Jr.:
“It’s your essentials,” explained Ian Joskowitz, 43, chief operating officer of Westside Market NYC. “It’s your water, alcohol, soaps, shampoos, deodorants, razors."
Also: beer, barbecue sauce, chips, Chock Full o'Nuts coffee, a selection of condiments and salsa, and maybe some fruit juice and some jerky? Men like jerky! The man aisle came about after Joskowitz and Westside Market CEO George Zoitas read an ESPN study showing a surge in men shopping for their families (men were the primary grocery buyers in 31 percent of households in 2011, up from 14 percent in 1985). Of course, these men's families probably don't live on chips and salsa, but, fortunately, the rest of the store is full of stuff for non-men and children. Can women buy things in the man aisle, too? Probably. This is all just fun, Joskowitz and Zoitas say, but also, on a practical level, to help guys who don't like to use lists "remember what they need." Perhaps it will even help generate some male bonding, trips to the man aisle for gossip and recipe sharing! In the rare case that a guy needs to remember more than jerky, however, he will be left to the wolves.
Not to quibble with a progressive movement, but this is actually not the "first" of its kind, though it may be in New York City. Procter & Gamble started testing "man aisles" in 2009, according to the Chicago Tribune, with the intent "to give [men] an experience that was comfortable for them and made it easier to navigate the store." In 2011, P&G also launched a website for men, ManoftheHouse.com, which gave household (and other) tips for men. It appears to now be defunct. Some Walmart and Target locations have been phasing in "man aisles," too. We're in a time of "societal evolution" for the grocery store, says shopping scientist and author Herb Sorenson—this is all based in the premise that grocery stores are, as default, female territory. But just because more women have traditionally had shopping duties, is that the case?
(Here is where we suggest a countering "woman aisle" with laxatives, tampons, bonbons, tea, pregnancy tests, Luna bars, and Advil. Just kidding, please don't do that. People will get angry.)
So far Westside Market's man aisle is popular enough to have required some item restocking and, of course, to have had an article written about it in the New York Post. If it's "successful," there will be more, say Zoitas and Joskowitz, who are nothing if not good at adding value. They've also offered a "Supermarket Survival Guide" to help the men of New York City become better shoppers.
*The photo above is of a gender-neutral aisle.